Explained: The Tory Leadership Contest
WHAT'S THE LATEST?
The race for leadership of the Conservative party began in earnest on Monday, as several candidates launched their official campaigns. After a handful of last-minute drop-outs, ten candidates remain in the race. The first vote to whittle down the candidates will be held tomorrow, with those standing needing to win the votes of at least 17 Tory MPs to remain in the race. This will be followed by a second round, where candidates must win 33 votes. If all candidates win 33 votes, those with the lowest number are eliminated – with this process repeated throughout next week until only two candidates remain. Once the race is down to two contenders, the contest will move to a postal ballot of party members to select the winner. The new leader is expected to be announced in the week beginning 22nd July.
WHO ARE THE CONTENDERS?
Leading the pack are contest frontrunners Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt. Formerly foreign secretary, Johnson has long been considered a likely candidate for Tory leadership after successfully heading up the Vote Leave campaign in 2016. Selling himself as the leader to put Nigel Farage “back in his box”, Johnson has pledged to take Britain out of the EU in October – “deal or no deal”. Despite being the bookies favourite, Johnson is not universally liked. Earlier this year, multiple Tory MPs pledged to quit the party if he became leader. Johnson is closely followed by current foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt. Also deemed a strong candidate for leadership, Hunt has won influential backing in the form of work and pensions secretary Amber Rudd and defence secretary Penny Mordaunt. On Brexit, Hunt plans to renegotiate the withdrawal agreement – but has insisted he would also be prepared to leave without a deal.
The other contenders leading the field are former leader of the house Andrea Leadsom, environment secretary Michael Gove and home secretary Sajid Javid. A hardline Brexiter, Leadsom has backed a no-deal departure in the form of a “managed exit”. It is not the first time she has gone for the top job: in 2016, Leadsom challenged Theresa May for the leadership but later withdrew, after her claim that being a mother gave her an advantage over May sparked controversy. Rival candidate Michael Gove has been the source of outrage in this year’s contest, after admitting to using cocaine on “several occasions” while working as a journalist. The admission saw him condemned by Javid, whose campaign includes a pledge to recruit 20,000 new police officers. The son of a Pakistani bus conductor, if Javid won the contest he would become the first ever black or Asian person to lead a major British party.
AND THE OTHER CANDIDATES?
Others vying for the leadership include health secretary Matt Hancock and international development secretary Rory Stewart. While both are considered competition outsiders, Stewart has generated considerable interest through his social media campaign and his promise to take a no-deal Brexit off the table. Hancock has also described a no-deal exit as “not a policy choice available”. The 40-year-old health secretary is hoping to appeal to younger voters and has been described as “tech-savvy” – running his own app.
A collection of former cabinet ministers make up the rest of the candidates, including former chief whip Mark Harper, former work and pensions Secretary Esther McVey and former Brexit secretary Dominic Raab. McVey has hit headlines for being firmly in favour of a no-deal Brexit, while Raab has drawn criticism for suggesting parliament should be suspended to force through a no-deal exit. Harper, however, appears likely to seek a further delay to negotiate a new deal with the EU. While the odds look poor for McVey and Harper, Raab’s candidacy looks more likely, with bookmaker Betfair placing his chances at 37/1 as of yesterday afternoon.
For a closer look at the candidates, televised debates are expected to be held on Channel 4 on the 16th June and on BBC One on 18th June, once the field has been narrowed further.
Anna Jones of Greenpeace UK speaks out against a surge in global deforestation for the farming of consumer products. According to analysis by Greenpeace International, forested areas twice the size of Britain have been cleared to make way for the farming of products such as palm oil and soy since 2010.
The destruction has come despite pledges taken by the Consumer Goods Forum to end deforestation by 2020 through the sustainable sourcing of four major products: soya, palm oil, paper and pulp, and cattle. Discussing the role of big consumer brands, Jones said: “They’ve wasted a decade on half-measures and in that time vast areas of the natural world have been destroyed.”
In other news...
ANTI-LGBT PROTESTS BANNED FROM SCHOOL
Protesters demonstrating against LGBT equality teaching outside a school in Birmingham have faced a temporary ban. Birmingham city council has secured a high court injunction to halt the protests outside Anderton Park primary school. The injunction bans protesters from an exclusion zone, including the school and the surrounding streets, with immediate effect. Anderton Park headteacher Sarah Hewitt-Clarkson has praised the ruling for keeping staff and pupils safe, saying: “We are pleased we can go back to school and tell our staff we will be free from protests outside the school for the rest of the year.” Protests have been held outside the school for the last six weeks, with many demanding the resignation of Hewitt-Clarkson over her support of the ‘No Outsiders’ equalities programme.
DOWNPOURS CAUSE TRANSPORT CHAOS
Heavy rainfall across England caused serious disruption to the travel network yesterday. Network Rail reported that south-east England saw over a month's worth of rainfall in one day – with the worst hit regions suffering two months’ worth of rainfall. The downpours overwhelmed drains, causing flooding in some areas. Travellers using Southern rail were also affected, as the operator was forced to advise people to avoid travel, delay their journeys and take alternative routes. Those travelling in cars faced disruption as the M25 was shut down in both directions for around eight hours after two sinkholes were discovered. According to the Met Office, the severe weather may continue until the end of the week, with some areas of the country expected to see up to 80mm of rain today and tomorrow.
TRUMP-RUSSIA EVIDENCE REVEALED
The US House judiciary committee is to receive evidence from Robert Mueller’s investigation after it struck an agreement with the justice department. The committee will be handed some of the “most important files” from the investigation, which examined links between Russia and Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. The files are said to include documents concerned with whether the president obstructed justice – one of the most controversial aspects of Mueller’s report. Committee chair, Democrat Jerry Nadler, has previously threatened to bring contempt charges against Attorney General William Barr unless he releases the report in full. In light of the new agreement, Nadler said the committee would not be pursuing charges against Barr for the time being.
The number of surplus mangos in the Philippines after unusually warm and hot weather led to a bumper crop. In a bid to avoid the excess fruits rotting, the Philippines’ agriculture officials have launched the Metro Mango campaign – holding classes on how to cook with the fruit and organising a mango-themed festival.